Manhattan Federal Judge Barbara Jones has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it improperly interferes with a state’s right to regulate marriage. The ruling by Jones comes in the wake of a decision by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston which upheld a lower court ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional.
Jones is the fifth judge to find DOMA unconstitutional.
Jones stated that DOMA intrudes upon “upon the states’ business of regulating domestic relations. . .Such a sweeping federal review in this arena does not square with our federalist system of government.”
Additionally, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that California’s Prop 8 was unconsittutional.
This case was brought by Edith Windsor. The widow of Thea Spyer brought the case in order to recover the $353,053 in federal estate tax she was not allowed to claim due to her marriage to Spyer. The two married in Canada, an act that, for a straight couple, would be recognized by the US government. Roberta Kaplan, Windsor’s attorney, stated that “It’s a good day for justice.”
Paul Clement, the lawyer representing the United States House of Representatives in a desperate attempt to keep DOMA in place, has not commented on this ruling. To date, he has not won a single case regarding DOMA.